My Diary

The Codeine Comedown

It’s been a while since I done an update on my back so I thought I’d do one to cover the last month or so.
Just to update anyone who hasn’t read the previous posts, at the beginning of the year I slipped a disc (well a few) in the bottom of my spine, as I do around once a year. I ended up spending a week in hospital unable to walk, had a month off work, was on crutches and painkillered up to the eyeballs on Codeine, Morphine, Diazipam, Gabapentin and other fun named drugs. Basically, I broke and you can read about what has happened previously¬†Here and Here.

So anyway, at the beginning of April I had an appointment with a spinal specialist who, for the first time in 10 years, actually explained what was going on with my back, why surgery won’t do anything and that the multitude of painkillers/blockers I was on probably weren’t doing anything, though I could have told him that myself realistically; I haven’t stopped being in pain, it had eased to the point I could at least walk but there was still a constant pain, what I didn’t know is the painkillers weren’t working, my assumption was that they were and I would be even worse if I stopped taking them!

After that appointment I felt like a weight had been lifted slightly and decided to come off the medication. I’d read horrific stories about people coming off Gabapentin cold turkey and the label actually states to increase and reduce slowly so I figured I’d start lowering it asap but do it slowly, one tablet less every day or 2 the same way I’d increased them. What I hadn’t read however, was the downside of coming off Codeine cold turkey, I didn’t take any more after that appointment …. I documented what happened in a diary….

Day 1

8.00 Feeling pretty confident this morning. I slept like absolute crap but I’m feeling determined I don’t want or need painkillers. The pain is bareable and hasn’t really changed since last night so I’m feeling pretty confident right now but we’ll see how I go at work. I have some tablets in my bag just in case.

15.15 Well I managed a day at work with no Co-codamol! My leg started to really play up on the drive home though and I grimaced at the pain while changing gear a couple of times. I’m starting to feel rather grouchy, that could just be hunger though.

18.00 It wasn’t hunger. My pain has got quite bad and my mood has been worsened by a couple of comments from Mr that I know I have taken out of context but I can’t help it. I just want to scream right now. I am starting to ache over my whole body and my head hurts too. I just want to go to sleep and wake up normal.

22.00 Over 24 hours since the last tablet went down and I want to die. The pain is everywhere and I have the shortest temper in the world. I’ve just woken up from an hour’s nap because I couldn’t take any more and just wanted to sleep. The pain is like needles all over my body from the bottom of my feet to the tips of my fingers. I don’t think I’m going to get much sleep again tonight somehow but I am going to take a Diazipam to try and help. Even the grogginess from that will be better to deal with than a night of agonising restlessness. I pray for a better day tomorrow while I snuggle into my quilt again.

Day 2

9.00 Everyone had a lie in this morning. I feel like I needed it. I’m not out of bed yet but I can still feel my legs are aching, I have a headache and a feel a bit teary still. We’ll see how I go after coffee and maybe some paracetamol. The Diazipam definitely helped me sleep but it does leave me with a fuzzy head.

10.30 Apart from a splitting headache I actually don’t feel too bad. I’ve had a little cry so clearly I’m still a bit emotional but I don’t feel the need to take any co-codamol which shows my body was dependent, I wasn’t addicted. I know I’m stronger than an addiction but I’m glad I proved it to myself.

16.00 Feeling really emotional again, I’m not sure if this is the codiene or just me now. It feels like some of the worst depression I’ve been through. My brain just won’t stop overthinking and I just want to go to sleep to shut it up. I’m also really starting to hurt again whereas I haven’t felt too bad for most of the day. I’ve done some research and this could last from 3 days to 3 weeks, tomorrow is day 3 so fingers crossed…. I do keep reading that depression isn’t meant to hit till about a week in though, if I’m not depressed now then I am dreading what I’ll be like in a few days! I nearly walked out on my family this afternoon, I just couldn’t cope with everything. My bad mood is affecting everyone else in the house and I just felt like I needed to get out.

23.00 I survived another day and I even managed a walk and some yoga in the end. I’m still on a massive downer though, my emotions are all over the place but mainly as low as they can get… Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

Day 3

2.00am This could be a side effect, could be dinner or just anxiety but I have excruciating stomach cramps now. I only fell asleep about an hour and a half ago after spending a good hour after going to bed in tears, an hour of that sat on the bathroom floor. Now I’m in the bathroom again, guts gurgling like crazy.

10.00 Woke up still feeling a bit rough. My belly feels sore and I feel a bit groggy. I did wake up to a cuddle though which made me feel a million times better. I don’t feel too achy either which is quite nice.

16.30 I am definitely coming through the other side! I feel a bit tired today and I’ve still got a bit of a dodgy belly (I do think it’s the codeine as it has the opposite effect to when you’re taking it). I haven’t really ached anywhere today though and the cramp like pain that I’ve had in my left leg for months has eased! My mood has also changed today. I’m actually happy and feeling positive! I think I clearly just needed to cry it out last night.

22.00 Most definitely a better day. I’ve felt a little sick and had a few tummy troubles but overall I feel more like me again. I done my yoga again tonight and I will admit, it hurt a little at times but I was concious of it so moved into a better position. I’m not taking a Diazipam to sleep tonight as I have an appointment early tomorrow and would like a clearer head.

Day 4.

7.00 Wow what a crap night’s sleep! I felt like I had pins and needles in my arms constantly, I was hot then cold then too hot again. My arms still feel really heavy like the muscles hadn’t stopped all night. Maybe the Diazipam is a good idea at the moment…

16.00 Well I think that’s it, I think I’m almost done with the comedown! My mood is back to my normal amount of grumpiness and the amount of pain I have seems to be on an even keel. I just have a little bit of a belly ache and feel a bit sick still but I can deal with that given everything else has passed. It may have been a crappy experience but I’m so glad I have got the co-codamol out of my system.

So there you go….. Don’t go cold turkey after taking co-codamol for 6 months straight! It’s really not fun.
I am now drug free and I haven’t even taken Diazipam to help me sleep in a good 3 weeks. I am still in pain, I’m still having to use a walking stick at times (I have a nice bronze collapsible one rather than a crutch now) and I am still struggling to come to terms with it all really but it makes me determined to help myself get better as I don’t want to let this become me.

I will never be “better”, my spine is damaged and that is that but I can take the pressure off by keeping my weight down and doing the right exercises. I’ve been referred for physio again so we’ll see what they suggest but for now it’s back to yoga as often as I can and I’ve started Aquacise every other week too so hopefully that will help.

It’s going to be a long road but I’ll just enjoy the journey.

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